Google’s John Mueller answered a question about how many product listings on a page are recommended as optimal for ranking purposes.
John Mueller suggested that the best answer is to look at the question from a different angle.
The person posted the question on the Mastodon social site.
“@johnmu do you prefer a large product offering (e.g. 30 products) on one page because offering many products is a ranking factor?
Or do you prefer a smaller and more specific product range (e.g. 2-3 products) that contributes more to conversion (less selection stress) in terms of EEAT?”
John Mueller suggested that the person asking the question should try to answer the question from a user-friendliness perspective.
“@beresterk That sounds like something I’d defer to usability testing.”
Usability testing is a method of testing a product (or in this case a website) by allowing potential customers to interact with the website.
How does Google approach usability testing?
In a Google podcast on usability testing, Jenny Gove, UX researcher at Google, shared these real-world insights:
“For me, usability testing is like uncovering the problems and uncovering what works really well for users and understanding why.”
The program’s moderator, Mustafa Kurtuldu, Senior UX Designer at Chrome (then), asked:
“How does someone get into research when they know next to nothing about it?”
“If you’re thinking about your product while you’re developing it at this stage of research, then it’s just great to get people to use it for the jobs you intend it to do.
So, even if it’s friends, family, or people in the office, it’s just great to show your product to those people so they can see what’s happening.
And with usability testing, we’re really looking at the problems that people run into and what works well for them and why it works well for them.
…You will see these things as they work their way through.
…And this is how you typically identify your type of most critical user journeys and let them go through them.
And often it’s something like a language that you use. We call that content, you know, the words you have on the button or where you’ve positioned something that just doesn’t make sense to most other people.”
She also suggested that friends and family members might be biased, so it’s good to test with people outside of those circles at some point to get a more unbiased result.
A great way to conduct usability testing on a website is to use the free Microsoft Clarity User Behavior Analysis tool.
The purpose of Microsoft Clarity is to show how people interact with a website, e.g. B. understanding how far users scroll before they leave a webpage and other similar insights.
Microsoft has published a blog post showing how to debug website usability.
They offered three areas where Clarity helps to improve usability and user experience:
- Increase product discoverability
- Improve site navigation
- Building a responsive design
For example, Clarity shows things like dead clicks that indicate users are stuck on a specific part of the page. Excessive scrolling is another indicator of poor UX.
What does Google prefer?
Coming back to the question of how many products to use on a page, the subtext of Mueller’s answer could be how many products are on a page is optimal for the user.
The essence of SEO is generally seen as optimizing a web page for ranking purposes, which means identifying what Google prefers.
So the person who asked the question responded to Mueller’s suggestion by focusing on finding out Google’s preferences.
“@johnmu thanks for the reply, thanks!
Speaking of the exchange rate: yes!
What does Google prefer in terms of SERP ranking or what do you recommend?
Or does Google ultimately use the conversion rate to decide which category page (shop) deserves a top position in the ranking?
Does that already answer my own question?”
John Mueller replied:
“@beresterk I don’t think Google has a preference per se.
It’s almost certain that things are subtly ranked differently, but that’s probably more anecdotal and not intentional.
I imagine the biggest effect is really on the user side, which is more about your bottom line than anything else.”
Mueller didn’t distract by advising the person to look at usability tests to better understand the ideal number of products to use on a website.
He acknowledged that pages could rank differently depending on how many products are on the page, ie changes in content.
But he suggested these changes are unintentional, perhaps implying it is not some sort of ranking signal. It’s only Google reacting to content.
It’s a good answer from Mueller because it’s a reminder that optimizing for Google isn’t always about how Google might react to a change.
This might sound counter-intuitive in the context of SEO, but Google now has a lot more signals related to user experience, such as: B. the algorithm of the rating system.
So it’s good to balance SEO by looking at an issue from the context of a user.
Read the Mastodon question and answer here:
Do you prefer an extensive range of products (e.g. 30 products) on one page?